At Large

Terrorists by Any Other Name

Why are "moderate" Muslims least surprised by the terrorism practiced by their co-religionists?

By 5.31.13

Send to Kindle

Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was run down last week by a vehicle targeting him as he walked along a London street. He was then repeatedly stabbed with knives and eventually decapitated with a meat cleaver. The worst fears of British security services had come to pass. Such an episode of individual murder had been expected to occur in one form or another, but the brutal attack on Rigby confirmed the dangers that had swirled about urban Britain’s racially and religiously volatile Islamic community for many years.

Many factors are being considered by the various law enforcement agencies now involved in the investigation, but the existence of any size of radicalized Muslim social order within a primarily European society challenges the fundamental cohesiveness and thus historical order of that majority society. This is the issue that is also facing the authorities in Stockholm where rioters -- primarily, though not exclusively, of Islamic immigrant background -- spent days complaining over lack of benefits that they had come to expect.

The assault in London was followed in France by a knife attack on a French soldier in the business center of La Defense on Paris’s outskirts. Unrelated but consistent, an ethnic Chechen Muslim in Florida was shot by the FBI after he allegedly lunged at interrogators seeking possible involvement with the Boston Marathon bombing by the Tsarnaev brothers. Connections in motivation were made by security specialists that these and similar past actions were in response to Islamic terrorist declarations that the lives of “crusaders” and other non-believers must be taken in order to avenge American and European efforts to subjugate Muslim lands and people. Meanwhile, throughout Africa’s Maghreb and Sahel, bands of radicalized Islamic terrorists have organized to murder and pillage in an effort to destabilize existing governance.

What is most surprising about these actions is that Islamic communities in occidental areas do not seem in the slightest surprised at these events -- even while condemning them. The reaction among many so-called “moderate” Muslims has been appropriately condemnatory of the acts -- but hardly shocked or even surprised. The fact is that it is expected in the Muslim community that some among them will seek to punish “non-believers” in the fashion dictated by the Qu’ran -- “to command good and forbid evil.”

Nonetheless in some of the incidents referred to there has been a direct claim of religious justification for the acts, though these brutal murders and attacks are carried out supposedly in retribution for the death or privation of innocent civilians by political and military forces of the dominating West. Revenge for military action is cloaked later in pseudo-spiritual justification by apologists seeking to explain the homicidal acts even as the perpetrators waste no time in planning their next action.

The reality is that the Islamic world is now infected with an effort to instill within its youth a belief that non-believers aided by heretics have been responsible for the loss of Islamic status and prestige, as well as legal dominance, over lands and people once held in the sway of Muslim genius and might. The right of Islam to dominate is at the core of this belief -- and thus the justification for the engagement of all acts carried out in the name of Islamic solidarity and revenge -- conveniently characterized under the term, jihad.

From this reasoning the late Sunni terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, energized a movement that now seeks to expand its reach -- under its al Qaeda name and others -- to conquer and punish countries and their people. Terrorist tactics are deemed the most suitable for they have a force multiplier effect. These tactics also encourage the targets to focus on the terror and not the shared religious conviction and/or pretense that nurtures the act.

For some reason, best known to the President of the United States, he has decided that characterizing the acts as criminal portrays them in a less malevolent mien and not a historic religiously driven derivation. In this fashion the American president has declared that the “war” against these forces is over, while the battle against international crime can and will continue as part of a global effort to preserve law and order.

The White House takes the position that the religio-political character of Islamic-derived contemporary terrorism has been replaced by a fraternity of murderers and anarchists for unstated material benefits. In this manner history and culture can be ignored and the religious alignment that gives impetus and justification to these actions can be absolved in the form of its own victimization rather than as a contributing factor.

If this were true, Drummer Rigby never would have been assassinated for no other reason than his mere existence. But the American president wants us to believe it wasn’t the bastardization of a great faith that drove the heinous act, but some far more understandable socio-psychological malaise. Why would he do that?

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author
George H. Wittman writes a weekly column on international affairs for The American Spectator online. He was the founding chairman of the National Institute for Public Policy.